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Iron phosphate  (Source: MIT)
The new battery isn't ready for commercial development, but it shows great promise

A new battery material created by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could lead to much faster recharge times for batteries.

MIT professor Gerbrand Ceder and researcher Byoungwoo Kang said the material can discharge energy and recharge nearly 100 times faster than batteries currently used in mobile phones.  Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in laptops as well, and could allow longer battery life and faster recharge time if a user is away from a power source for long durations of time.

"The ability to charge and discharge batteries in a matter of seconds rather than hours may open up new technological applications and induce lifestyle changes," Ceder and Kang sad in the latest edition of Nature.

The duo created a small battery that normally takes six minutes to charge, but used their new traffic flow to recharge the same battery in just 10 to 20 seconds.

It was widely believed the ions and electrons inside the battery moved too slowly, but the researchers noticed that wasn't the case.  They focused on how ions enter nano-scale tunnels aimed at moving electrons around the battery, and eventually created a lithium phosphate coating that helps push ions to the nano-scale tunnels.

Rechargeable lithium batteries used today have the ability to store high amounts of energy, but don't normally release that power, so they discharge very slowly.    

The battery has been supported with federal research money, and two companies have already licensed the technology, MIT announced.  It'd be possible to start mass producing the batteries in two to three years, the MIT researchers said. 

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lithium titanate?
By shin0bi272 on 3/13/2009 10:10:13 AM , Rating: 3
anyone remember those lithium titanate anodes that were supposed to replace the current ones? They were supposed to increase the lifespan of a lithium ion battery by 10 fold and cut the charge time to 6 minutes. This was the middle of last year or so that I heard this (on DailyTech no less). They were saying that the surface area of the current (carbon covered) anodes was like 3 square ft but that the lithium ones was 300sq ft which let the battery discharge at the high rate of lithium ion batteries but the surface area allowed it to last longer and recharge faster. The lithium titanate was made on a nano scale which is what brought it all these benefits.

What happened to those?

RE: lithium titanate?
By shin0bi272 on 3/13/2009 10:23:58 AM , Rating: 2
oh wait nevermind... found it

And to "edit" my other post its 100 square meters per gram, compared with 3 square meters per gram for carbon... my bad but not a horrible memory eh?

RE: lithium titanate?
By Doormat on 3/13/2009 10:38:50 AM , Rating: 2
The company that makes the technology, AltairNano, doesn't seem to be doing much with it. Their deals to put the batteries in vehicles (with some company called Phoenix Vehicles) seems to have fallen apart. I bought the stock at $1 and its now 63c. So much for that find...

RE: lithium titanate?
By shin0bi272 on 3/13/2009 11:38:14 AM , Rating: 2
well damn... At least the technology is there and it works so it is a viable solution once someone can actually get a contract signed to use it.

RE: lithium titanate?
By gstrickler on 3/13/2009 1:51:15 PM , Rating: 3
Don't forget the silicon nanowire anode battery. Up to 10x the capacity and fast charge/discharge capable. Unfortunately, this technology is further away, and without an improved cathode, it's probably only about 3x-5x capacity.

This Lithium Phosphate technology is an improvement of the technology MIT developed in 2001 and that is currently used by A123 Systems. That makes the 2-3 year availability seem much more realistic.

In any case, give me 1000+ cycles and any improvement in capacity, size, weight, or charge/discharge rate, and it makes a much better laptop battery than current LiIon or LiPo batteries.

RE: lithium titanate?
By shin0bi272 on 3/13/2009 9:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
nice. Thanks for the info I appreciate that.

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